ECSP identifies five priorities to help support Europe’s retail property sector

Retail property

The European Council of Shopping Places (ECSP), the association which provides a dedicated voice for the European retail property sector, has released its position paper responding to the financial impact of Covid-19 on the retail property sector. 

It concludes that the uncertainty of repeated lockdowns, the inconsistent approach of different governments, and the overly onerous focus on retail property owners to support an industry in crisis is not sustainable. 

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have unprecedented consequences on the life of European citizens, the economy, and society as a whole. However, retail landlords across Europe are having to shoulder the economic consequences of significant drops in footfall, rent collection, and increased costs, with very little financial help, support or guidance.  

In its paper, ECSP calls on the relevant authorities to urgently consider the following measures that could help mitigate the impact and risk associated with the pandemic on Europe’s retail property sector: 

  • Review financial provisions: suspension or waiver of financial covenants; no recalculations or reclassifications or additional (waiver) fees 
  • Increased financial and banking flexibility and extended timelines 
  • A more holistic approach to subsidies, where the burden is shared 
  • Prepare guidelines providing basic rules and principles on asset classification and property tax payments 
  • Provide credit lines to retailers 

“Shopping places are working hard to manage the situation from a commercial and operational perspective, providing access to essential goods and services despite rapidly changing circumstances. However, the closure of hundreds of thousands of shops, stores, bars, restaurants, and places of commerce across the EU is hitting our sector extremely hard”, says Joost Koomen, Secretary General of ECSP. 

He adds: “We call for a coordinated strategy and approach to ensure that this short-term crisis does not have a longer-term detrimental impact that could result in closures, bankruptcies, and rising unemployment. This would have a devastating effect on the communities shopping places serve. Let’s not forget that shopping places in Europe welcome billions of visitors every year and are a focal point for economic and social activity, providing employment and attracting investment. It is consequently an important hub in a much broader value chain.” 

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